New Branding, Updated Name, Same Mission
Change happens. Sometimes you see it coming and other times you can’t. We believe it’s better to be as intentional about change as possible, to manage it, make adjustments, adapt, and evolve.
In 2020, everything changed for us all, in Columbia County and throughout the world. The Columbia County Economic Team had to change too – to do things we’ve never attempted, fill gaps, and take on roles, all in the interest of our local economy and the businesses that drive it.
We did change. And we continue to change and evolve as we emerge into the next normal. Together, we have new opportunities, new capabilities, and we’re marketing to our key audiences as they evolve too, in new and refined ways.
Looking into how we were perceived and how we need to be perceived to be even more successful, we found that even many of our stakeholders weren’t sure what to call us: C-C-E-T, C-CET, or far worse, not knowing what CCET or Columbia County Economic Team even stood for. As our organization evolves, so is how we’re going to identify and talk about ourselves and what we do. Even just in our name, we wanted to find a way to capture what we do and reduce confusion about whether we’re county government or not. As a result, our working name is exactly what we are: Columbia Economic Team. The Team includes more than the board or staff or even its members. As we grow and continue to succeed in our mission it will include many more. Maybe, hopefully, it also includes you.
The collaborative combination of both public and private sectors provides a unique position for Columbia Economic Team. We understand and work well with all levels of government as we seek to be highly inclusive in our support of multiple audiences — businesses and organizations of all sizes, types, and ambitions. The rub we were experiencing for the past many years included a confusion of identity — and sometimes even pronunciation. It wasn’t overly clear to constituents (whether current business owners in the County or potential investors) that we aren’t part of the actual Columbia County government, but a membership organization made up of companies just like many of them, created to serve the entirety of the County, including them!
Through many weeks of evaluation, perspective-gathering, and idea exchange discussion between our staff, board members, an advisory panel of local trusted stakeholder voices, and branding experts, Columbia Economic Team developed a more consistent, in-depth brand voice to convey the who, what, when, where, why, and how of our organization as well as streamlining our name primarily for our outbound communications, marketing, and recruitment. The truth is we are the Economic Team for Columbia County and always will be. Good branding strategy, however encourages us to streamline, simplify, and emphasize the words or identifiers that resonate best with our audience: Economic Team. The focus on these things then helped to shape all the content for our new website and inform the visual brand. The outcome is an approach that reduces confusion, freshens perspective, and creates a clearer path forward to communicating our purpose to all our intended audiences.
Effectively communicating and engaging all our audiences is critical to the work we do, and how. Our job is to be advocates for economic growth and partners who make it happen.
All organizations evolve to a place when they realize they have outgrown their visual branding. Often a logo is developed in isolation. Typography and colors are added as there is a need, but without thought to how everything works together. The result? An ad hoc brand identity that doesn’t scale or fit the organization. As Columbia Economic Team increasingly becomes the go-to for businesses looking to grow and invest, for families looking to relocate, and for locals and visitors looking for things to do, and as Columbia Economic Team re-sets, expands in scope, responsibility and accountability not just to its members, stakeholders and potential investors but also small businesses and communities, now is the appropriate time to refresh the branding.
Columbia Economic Team’s reset or refresh coincided with the COVID and economic pandemics, fulfilling both old and new roles. As we emerge, it’s an opportunity to take economic development in our county further, and be more resilient and refined as a result.
We focused on creating a professional logo that evokes energy and growth. The new logo’s concentric pattern stimulates growth from the inside out. However, the geometric shapes look a little different as you look at them deeper! It could be an interconnected web. It could be the letter “C.” Regardless of how it appears, it will become instantly recognizable, and it all connects back to the Team. The colors align with our natural beauty. The orange highlight evokes energy and hints at something a little unexpected—a little unexpected sums up our County. So close to the metro area, yet living here is far from city life. From great schools, neighbors who know each other, land to develop, reasonable tax rates, and infrastructure to support manufacturing.
The new logo, along with typography and color palette, is ready to grow with Columbia Economic Team.